Great lines from the awards ceremony:
Dave Villwock: "As hard as the 37 guys push us, I know I’m having a good year when Billy Schumacher’s mad at us.”

Great lines from the awards ceremony:
Dave Villwock: "We’re going to have all new engines next year, mostly because I blew up all the stuff last year."

Photo - James Simpson

Great lines from the awards ceremony:
Graciously accepting the 3rd place award, U-37 Beacon Plumbing team owner Billy Schumacher said "Anything less than first, it sucks."

Photo - James Simpson

We should have some interviews and video from the awards ceremonies posted on HydroInsider.com in a few days.

In the "it's a small world" category, former KNDO/Yakima sport director Kevin Bollinger is working in Las Vegas at the FOX TV station there. He remembers covering the hydros in the Tri-Cities, so when the awards banquet came to Las Vegas, he dropped by with a photographer to do some interviews. Kevin said he's send me the tape so that I can share it with everyone here.

ABRA's Sam Cole said they had productive meetings, but said he couldn't elaborate because "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas."

Sam made the comments from the podium. There were meetings most of the day on Thursday. Unlike last year, the groups did not come out and talk about what's going on.

Sam did hint at the possibility of yet another race in the Midwest for 2008. Some announcement may happen soon. I can also tell you first-hand that the ABRA and some owners met with potential series sponsors during the Las Vegas trip.


ABRA High Points Driver Champion - Dave Villwock, Miss Elam Plus
ABRA High Points Team Champions - Miss Elam Plus, Erick Ellstrom
Photo - James Simpson


ABRA Season High Points - 3rd Place: U-37 Beacon Plumbing

ABRA Season High Points - 2nd Place: U-6 Oh Boy! Oberto/Miss Madison

Photo - James Simpson

ABRA Rookie of the Year: David Bryant, U-10 USA Racing Partners

HydroInsider.com Archive Photo: David is shown at the right modeling his 2007 helmet.


Unlimited Owner of the Year: Madison, Indiana

ABRA Award of Excellence: Tom Sawyer, Evansville

Photo - James Simpson

Unlimited Owner of the Year: Madison, Indiana

ABRA Award of Excellence: Tom Sawyer, Evansville

Unlimited Crew Chief of the Year: Mike Hanson, U-6 Oh Boy! Oberto/Miss Madison

Unlimited Crew of the Year: U-6 Oh Boy! Oberto/Miss Madison


Photo - James Simpson

Outstanding Print Coverage: Extreme Boats Magazine
ABRA Photographer of the Year: Bill Osborne

LINK: http://www.extremeboatsmag.com/

Best Local or National TV Coverage: KIRO-TV, Seattle
Best Local or National Radio Coverage: WORX - Madison


Commercial Race Sponsor of the Year: Lamb Weston/ConAgra
Commercial Race Team Sponsor of the Year: Oberto
Race Site of the Year: Seattle

Photo - James Simpson

Corporate Marketing Awards:

  • Chevrolet
  • FormulaBoats.com - Ted Porter
  • Madison Regatta

ABRA Official of the Year: Scott Patton
Special Contribution Award: The Patton Family

Kip Brown will also be doing double-duty in 2008, driving the U-17 Miss Red Dot/USNW Express that Nate Brown and his team built last year as well as the UL-8 for Baker Equipment Racing.

Kevin Eacret will also be driving for the Unlimited Lights team.

OK, HydroInsider.com is on location at the Palms Hotel in Las Vegas, site of the ABRA meeting and Awards Dinner on Thursday. We'll have updates, stories, and award winners when they're announced. Stay tuned!

If you've got news or photos from the event, please email me so we can share them with everyone else!

The Unlimited Hydroplanes are still considering a tour stop at Firebird in the Phoenix area. You can get a look at what hydro racing looks like by checking out NWSpeedShots.com's pictures of the recent Unlimited Lights event.



HydroInsider.com Archives:

Bill Center reports in the San Diego Union-Tribune that the Unlimiteds have signed on for San Diego for 2008:

After almost being dropped from the lineup last September because of financial concerns, the Unlimited Hydroplanes already have signed up for their 2008 stop in San Diego.

Full article (scroll to the bottom) >>

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Gold Cup in 2008, APBA commerative Gold Cup jewelry has been designed. There will be a limited number of gold pins produced and available as part of the signup package for the Gold Cup Preservation Society in Detroit.

Details >>


Seafair has released its schedule events for the annual Seattle event in 2008:
  • July 5 Seafair Milk Carton Derby
  • July 13 Virginia Mason Team Medicine Marathon
  • July 20 Benaroya Research Institute Triathlon
  • July 26 Southwest Airlines Torchlight Parade
  • July 26 Wells Fargo Torchlight Run
  • July 26 Miss Seafair Scholarship Program for Women
  • August 1-3 Chevrolet Cup & KeyBank Air Show

    Source:
    Seafair website

Video clips from Valleyfield, Quebec in 2006. About halfway through the video, you can see the damage to the U-1 Elam Plus when it ran aground.

Photo (right): HydroInsider.com Archives
Video (below):
Kevin Hart posted on Google Video.
video
From the HydroInsider.com Archives:

"We broke some hardware that held the skid fin on. It let go," said Dave Villwock, U-1 Elam driver. "Then a second and a half later, I was looking at the entire crowd of Valleyfield."

Villwock says he managed somehow to turn the boat to the right. "Then I saw a patrol boat. I'm trying to get control away from them." He did, but not before hitting head-on into a rock on the shore.

"I was elated to get past it (the patrol boat)," he said. "I didn't care that much that I hit that rock. The patrol boat had no place to go."

Read the full story plus more video >>

Final poll results: The next big star is...

  • Jeff Bernard 35%
  • Kayleigh Perkins 33%
  • J. Michael Kelly 25%
  • Brian Perkins 5%

Thanks to the 171 people that voted.

Video montage of the U-6 throughout the years and into today, by Travis Johnson. Click here to watch >>


If the top drivers from each decade were put in identical equipment and raced head-to-head, who would win?


If you have attended the San Diego races anytime in the past 10 years, please take part in this survey for the benefit of the Thunderboat Regatta. If you leave your contact information, they'll send you a special 2007 Regatta collector's pin for your opinions.

ABRA has confimed that Nashville will be on the 2008 schedule May 2-4.



Breaking news... Freedom Racing is selling all assets of the U-21 team and getting out of the unlimited hydroplane racing business. Read the official announcement >>

Photo of the Tempo VII, owned by Guy Lombardo, by Larry Wilson.
Thanks Skip for identifying the photographer. The photo was sent to me anonymously and I always try to give proper credit.

Greg Hopp and the UL-15 was the winner in the Firebird Finals in Phoenix for the Unlimited Lights. The finals were a three boat race around the 1.25 mile course with a barrier in the middle. Hopp held off Kayleigh Perkins in the UL-72 and UL-93 & Marty Wolfe to win the exhibition race.

Read more at ULHRA.org >>

Official word on the possiblity of the U-37 Beacon Plumbing team building a new boat:

While Schumacher Racing would seriously like to pursue building a new boat, having one for the 2008 season is an unrealistic goal at this time. As of right now, the boat in our shop is the boat we’ll go racing with in 2008.

Source: U-37 Website

Sad news to report: Jean Theoret's father, Gerald, has passed away. You can send condolences to the Theoret family by going to www.u-37.com.

The event this weekend in Firebird is also the site of 25th annual (IHBA) International Hot Boat Association World Finals ... drag boats.

Updated heat times for Firebird for Sunday:
Sunday - November 18th

  • Heat 3A - 9:15 AM
  • Heat 3B - 9:30 AM
  • Final - 1:30 PM

Source: ULHRA

The Unlimited Lights exhibition at Firebird Lake this weekend should be interesting. Since you can't cut through the infield (there's concrete barriers there), the timing runs start when you leave the dock. If you mis-time it, you could be a full lap behind the other boats.

Watch the LIVE ULHRA WEBCAST >>

  • FRI - Nov 16: 2:45pm PT
  • SAT - Nov 17: 10:15am, 12:45pm PT
  • SUN - Nov. 18: 10:15pm, 2:30pm

    NOTE: Live stream will be dark when it's not active.

A hydroplane ferry is now running in Hong Kong. Watch the video here >>

Last year, the Unlimited Lights weren't included in the Tri-Cities Water Follies weekend with the Unlimited hydros. Instead, they did their own event in Richland, WA. Discussions are underway to bring the Lights back to the Water Follies event, but it's too soon to tell whether it will lead anywhere.

From David Williams at the Hydroplane & Raceboat Museum: 2007 Gold Cup winning driver Dave Villwock will be the honored guest at this years Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum's Annual Membership Meeting on Saturday, December 1st at 7:00 PM at the Museum. This marks the fifth year in a row that we have been honored with a visit from the reigning Gold Cup Champion.

The Annual Membership Meeting is an important event. It allows you a chance to hear about our achievements from 2007 and our goals for 2008. We hand out our year end awards, and you get a chance vote on the make up of the board of directors.

The event starts at 7:00 PM with a lasagna dinner, followed by a special presentation by Dave Villwock. At 8:30 we will hold our board of directors election followed by our volunteer awards. Cost is only $10, and that includes dinner.

We're putting the finishing touches on a great video piece wrapping up the entire season for the ABRA awards presentation in Las Vegas later this month. After it plays at the event, we'll post it here on-line.


Audio and scripting comes from Steve Montgomery. Video and photos from KNDU-TV, KIRO-TV, KING-TV, Focused TV, Spokane Sports Television, Mike Fetscher, Kirk Duncan, Jack Lowe and Dave Mabry will be in the video presentation. KNDU's Jim Tippett is doing the editing. Thanks to all of them, plus the host of others that contributed greatly to HydroInsider.com all year long.

The Scioto Riverfest in Columbus, OH has been canceled for good apparently. The weekend event on the Olentangy River, which runs past Ohio State University into downtown Columbus, was scrubbed by the city. The event featured a mix of boat racing, river hot rods, and water skiing exhibitions.

Chip Hanauer: "I wouldn't change one thing. I've been so lucky. I've been fortunate enough to live life almost exactly on my own terms. I just feel really, really lucky."


Read more in an in-depth interview by the Seattle Times from 2004 >>

Or check out Chip's website >>

According to Fred Farley, Bernie Little's boats participated in 354 Unlimited hydroplane races between 1963 and 2002, finishing in the top-3 an astonishing of 230 times. That includes a record 134 victories, 14 APBA Gold Cups and 22 World High Points Championships.

Read the 40 year history of Bernie Little's Miss Budweiser by Fred Farley >>

Elmore Buringrud , former Miss Thirftway Too crew chief, passes away. Seattle Times article >>

Build your own Formula Boats on-line. Pick your boat model, engine, colors, and options and customize it any way you want.
My build-a-boat included dock-side cable TV plug-ins of course. Price tag? $385, 640. A little too rich for my Christmas list...

Customize your Formula Boat >>

VIDEO: Greg Hopp's UL-1 flip and aftermath at Port Angeles. To view ULHRA video>>

Again this year, we'll be live blogging the ABRA Awards, this time from Las Vegas. So if you can't attend, we'll have updates throughout the night on this blog, literally within seconds of the announcements on November 27th.

The FormulaBoats.com U-5 & U-7 racing team has re-launched their website. To view >>

ABRA is selling a poster of the 2007 unlimited hydroplane drivers with autographs for $50 a pop on their website. Details >>

Vince Xaudaro had a serious accident at Silverdale, WA in the UL-929 when it went nose first into the water after hitting a roller. Now, Vince is selling the UL-929 is being sold - as is.


From ULHRA:

Includes cockpit, rudder strut, shaft strut, new engine mount plates, and center section. Needs belly pan and 2 sponsons. Trailer not included. Possible extras negotiable. $7500

Contact - Vince Xaudaro 425 785-4461

The Unlimited Lights has an exhibition at Firebird in the Phoenix area November 17 & 18. That's the site of a possible Unlimited race in 2008.


Also, the ULHRA says it has more races secured for 2008.

Read more on ULHRA >>

Slideshow of 1955 U-10 "Scooter Two" >>

A nice note from Steve David...

Dear KNDU and Hydroinsider: On behalf of our entire team, we thank you and your viewers for their generosity in selecting our team to win Top Driver, Top Crew Chief and Top team for 07. We're humbled and deeply appreciative of their votes. We hope to continue bringing them exciting deck to deck Unlimited Hydro racing in 2008 and beyond.

Again, our thanks,

Steve David, Driver
Oh Boy Oberto Unlimited Hydroplane


Complete list of Award winners for 2007 >>

Miss Geico sets the Chattanooga Mile speed record at 188.258 mph in AMF Offshore Racing.

Top 10 all-time driver list, active driver wins, sponsor wins 1960-2007, and the memorial list of hydroplane drivers killed during unlimited testing or racing.

See stats from hydros.us>>

The 2007 HydroInsider.com Awards have been announced >>

The ABRA Awards banquet for 2007 is November 27th in Las Vegas. We're helping Steve Montgomery produce some of the video pieces that will be shown. There's still time to sign up to attend. Contact Taryn Baze at the ABRA at 877-783-RACE.